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The White House announced Monday that President Biden came in “close contact” with a staffer who later tested positive for COVID-19, but added notably that Biden has no plans to self-quarantine.
“On Monday morning, a mid-level staff member, who does not regularly have contact with the President, received a positive result for a COVID-19 test,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “Three days earlier, on Friday, that staff member had spent approximately 30 minutes in proximity to the President on Air Force One, on the way from Orange, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
Noting that Biden “is tested on a regular basis,” she noted further that he had a negative antigen test on Sunday.
“This morning, after being notified of the staffer’s positive test, the President received a PCR test and tested negative. He will be tested again on Wednesday,” she said.
“Others on Air Force One who were in close contact with this staff member are being contacted and will be advised to get tested per CDC guidance,” Psaki noted further.
The administration also said that the COVID-positive staffer “is fully vaccinated and boosted, and tested negative prior to boarding Air Force One, as is required for everyone traveling with the President.
“This staff member did not begin to experience symptoms until Sunday, and was tested on Monday,” she said, adding that Biden won’t be isolating.
“The president has a full schedule today and is not in need of quarantine,” Psaki continued. “We will provide information to all of you as outlined with our commitment from just a few months ago about being transparent, about close contacts.”
One correspondent asked about whether there is currently a COVID outbreak at the White House, the National Security Council, the State Department, or the Treasury.
“I don’t have any updates for you at this point in time,” she told the reporter. “But again, we expect there to be breakthrough cases across the country, right? And certainly in the federal government.”
“And the most important thing to note for you and for others is that 99% or more at this point of the White House staff is vaccinated,” she added. “Boosters are strongly recommended and distributed. We have a very thorough process here that people abide by, who are going to have close contact with the president and even beyond that, and those protocols go above and beyond CDC guidelines.”
“So, you’re not going to say whether or not there’s been a significant outbreak in the various different parts that I mentioned – NSC, State Department, Treasury?” the reporter pressed.
“Again, I point you to different agencies to give any additional information, but I would just note that we do expect there to be breakthrough cases, as there will be across government,” she responded.
Her comments follow announcements on Sunday from Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), along with Democratic Rep. Jason Crow (Colo.) that they all tested positive for the virus despite being fully vaccinated and boosted, Fox News reported.
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